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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Advanced

Session for Grub Instructors - Intercultural Understanding: Teaching Writing Across Differences

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  • $0.00 Non-Member
  • $0.00 Member

Class Description

Please note: This session is open to GrubStreet instructors only. This session will also be recorded.

What is intercultural understanding and why should it matter to writers and creative writing instructors?

Drawing inspiration from GrubStreet’s Access & Inclusion Instructor Guide, this seminar will delve into the lived implications of this question within the context of a creative writing workshop.

In 2017 I designed the framework of Intercultural Understanding (IU) as the defining pedagogy in my classes at MassArt. IU draws from my social positioning as a non-US born and non-US citizen, white identified woman educator, and my scholarship at the intersection of postcolonial and diaspora studies, cross-cultural pedagogy, and transnational literature.

My definition of Intercultural Understanding is: an orientation to any encounter across differences in which all parties involved recognize each other’s complexities, specificity, and ultimately dignity. Intercultural Understanding names both the quality of this orientation and the process of cultivating it.

In this seminar, we will discuss IU as a pedagogy framework and set of tools to:

  • Recognize and mobilize the identities that are always already present in any learning environment, including virtual learning environments: the identities of the teacher, the students/writers, the identities of the authors we read, the identity and values of the institution we work in. IU framework is centered around a “ difference-based understanding of identity”, starting with the differences within ourselves. Regardless of our social, cultural, racial, gendered, background each of us carries and embodies a number of differences, often contextual and open to multiple ‘readings’.
  • Check in with our motivation to expand the range of voices, narratives and experiences represented in our curriculum (why teaching for IU?), and how IU looks in our selection of authors and texts.
  • Critically analyze concepts/beliefs like “authenticity,” “relatability,” “opacity,” vs “hyper-visibility,” “universal vs. granular,” when workshopping and reading texts. How do these concepts/beliefs show up in our students’ writing? How can we respond to them critically and responsively?
  • Reflect on the kinds of learning experiences we facilitate in our in-person and virtual writing workshops (from ice-breakers to writing assignments). How do we teach for IU? “Understanding” denotes the spectrum of intellectual, self-reflective, somatic, empathetic, and collaborative modes of engagement with others – be these others literary texts, individuals, stories, experiences, and worldviews.
  • Practice Intercultural communication: from how we offer culturally responsive feedback, to how to foster student engagement across differences, from how and when to invite vulnerability in our classes, to how to expand our own “tolerance for ambiguity” (Gloria Anzaldua) and not-knowing. Reflect on the value of being a “translator” of differences in the classroom.

Instructors are invited to share one example of a piece of writing or discussion that you found particularly interculturally challenging in your classes. Examples from virtual classes are particualrly welcome.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!